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FCW : May 30, 2013
CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER EXECUTIVE EDITOR Anne Armstrong Troy K. Schneider PRINT MANAGING EDITOR ONLINE MANAGING EDITOR Terri J. Huck Michael Hardy STAFF WRITERS Amber Corrin, Frank Konkel, Adam Mazmanian CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Richard E. Cohen, Alan Joch, John Moore, Colleen O'Hara, Katherine Reynolds Lewis CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jeff Langkau ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR Dragutin Cvijanovic SENIOR WEB DESIGNER Martin Peace SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGING EDITOR Heather Kuldell EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Dana FitzGerald PRESIDENT Anne Armstrong CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Abraham M. Langer SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT/GROUP PUBLISHER Jennifer Weiss VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING Carmel McDonagh PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Neal Vitale SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Richard Vitale EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Michael J. Valenti VICE PRESIDENT, FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION Christopher M. Coates VICE PRESIDENT, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY& APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT Erik A. Lindgren VICE PRESIDENT, EVENT OPERATIONS David F. Myers CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Jeffrey S. Klein HOW TO REACH THE STAFF You can reach sta members of 1105 Government Informa- tion Group. A list of sta members can be found online at www.fcw.com. E-mail: Sta members can be reached by using the naming convention of first initial followed by their last name @1105govinfo.com. Vienna O ce (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. -- 5:30 p.m. ET) (703) 876-5100; Fax (703) 876-5126 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500, Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Corporate O ce (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. -- 5:30 p.m. PT) (818) 814-5200; Fax (818) 734-1522 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 Editor'sNote The Department of Veterans Affairs is an agency with a noble mission, but it can be a tough place to get things done. This issue's story on the IT challenges at VA (Page 12) reminds us once again that organizational culture and widely dispersed users can complicate the best- intentioned plans --- even when they are being pushed by dedicated professionals who have clear budget authority. This look at VA IT was prompted by a raft of senior- level departures that included CIO Roger Baker and Chief Technology Of cer Peter Levin, and by a recent study of VA's Of ce of Information and Technology that was commissioned by OIT itself. Our reporting on those matters led to the many sources cited in the article, who --- along with inspector general and General Accountability Of ce investigations --- have raised questions about IT centralization and touched a nerve within VA. When this piece was published on FCW.com a few weeks ago, defenders of OIT complained that too many of the unfavorable comments came from anonymous sources. That, unfortunately, is a reality of doing business in Washington. We can only say that the sources are known to and vetted by us, that we believe them to be knowledgeable and reliable, and that internal email messages and other documents support their allegations. The sheer volume of online comments from individuals stating that they are current or former OIT employees lends some weight to the discussion as well. The other recurring theme --- in interviews and online comments alike --- is that VA employees have serious concerns about IT management, and they want to be heard. Decentralization has downsides to be sure, and a command-and-control approach has its place. But the culture that created the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture clearly has bristled at the top-down, enterprisewide approach. Baker was correct when he said that change is hard and that not everyone wants to be part of that change. The responses so far, however, make it clear that there are many at all levels of VA who care deeply about making their agency better. --- ANNE ARMSTRONG AND TROY K. SCHNEIDER The VA debate May 30, 2013 FCW.COM 7 FCW (ISSN 0893-052X) is published 21 times a year, two issues monthly except one issue in Jan, Feb and Dec by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Ste. 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Periodicals postage paid at Chatsworth, CA 91311-9998, and at additional mailing of ces. Complimentary subscriptions are sent to qualifying subscribers. Annual subscription rates payable in U.S. funds for non-quali ed subscribers are: U.S. $125.00, International $165.00. Annual digital subscription rates payable in U.S. funds for non-quali ed subscribers are: U.S. $125.00, International $125.00. Subscription inquiries, back issue requests, and address changes: Mail to: FCW, P.O. Box 2166, Skokie, IL 60076-7866, email FCWmag@1105service. com or call (866) 293-3194 for U.S. & Canada; (847) 763-9560 for International, fax (847) 763-9564. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to FCW, P.O. Box 2166, Skokie, IL 60076-7866. Canada Publications Mail Agreement No: 40612608. Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to Circulation Dept. or XPO Returns: P.O. Box 201, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 4R5, Canada.
May 15, 2013
June 15, 2013